Last updated on February 17, 2021 11:53 am
BY DANYA HAJJAJI
Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who chairs the largest conservative caucus in the House, warned against Republicans distancing themselves from former President Donald Trump, arguing it will cost the party future elections.
“A Republican Party that seeks to erase President Trump and fails to understand his appeal to working class voters is destined to lose elections in 2022, 2024 and beyond,” tweeted Banks, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Republican Study Committee.
“As a conservative leader in the GOP I’m determined to make sure that won’t happen.”
Banks’ statement comes amid GOP infighting, pitting Republicans who disavowed Trump against those who chose to stand by him following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
As Trump faced an unprecedented second impeachment trial over his role in inciting the riots that shook the nation, seven Republican senators crossed party lines to vote against the former president.
Trump ended up acquitted during last week’s proceedings, as the 57 votes in favor of his conviction fell short of the required supermajority of 67.
The dissenting senators faced censure by their states’ GOP groups for casting their votes against Trump.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania were swiftly rebuked by local Republican chapters following the trial.
A motion to censure Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah—a longtime Trump critic and the only Republican to vote against him at the first impeachment trial—was circulated by Utah Republicans who accused him of being an “agent for the Establishment Deep State.”
Trump himself sought to malign GOP officials who did not throw their full weight behind him.
In a scathing statement released Tuesday, Trump accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of being responsible for Democrats taking the chamber, calling him a “dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” and vowing Republican senators who stand by him “will not win again.”
McConnell voted to acquit Trump but also took the floor after the verdict to hold the former president “practically and morally responsible” for “provoking” the Capitol riot.
Following Trump’s statement, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said he would tell McConnell the GOP doesn’t have a “snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump.”
In his criticism of McConnell during a Monday Fox News interview, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz said the GOP leader belonged to the “new incarnations in the Republican party from those trying to purge Trumpism from our movement.”
Republican backlash against Illinois GOP congressman and vocal Trump critic Adam Kinzinger trickled into his personal life after 11 members of his family mailed him a letter saying he sullied their name by breaking with the former president.